The BCcampus Research Fellows program provides support for B.C. post-secondary educators to conduct research on improving student learning and to share their results and experiences with peers in B.C. and beyond.

Project Lead/Fellow: Heather Simpson                                        

Institution: Justice Institute of British Columbia Project (JIBC)

Project Title: Forming Strong Cultural Identities in an Intersecting Space of Indigeneity and Autism 

Research description:  This research project provides a voice and leadership opportunity for Indigenous students with autism through participatory action research to inform and ask how B.C. post-secondary teaching and learning practices and policy can better integrate Indigenous knowledge in education and arts programming and disrupt patterns of social injustice, exclusion, and cultural genocide while promoting positive identity formation, pride, and resilience for Indigenous persons with autism.

Research as a BCcampus Fellow:

Forming Strong Cultural Identities in an Intersecting Space of Indigeneity and Autism

“The Truth: that needs to be told. There are going to be many, many stories. Everybody has a story. So, the history needs to be told in a Truthful way so that everybody is respected and acknowledged. And without that, we are just going to start the same thing over again” Project Elder Phillip Gladue, Métis Nation.

The message is clear and the wisdom, simple yet profound. History repeats when we do not listen and learn from Truth. In an era where educational leaders seek to transform westernized post-secondary education systems through philosophy and processes of decolonization, Indigenization, and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, stewardship of storied experiences must be a priority if we are to expect real and lasting change and meaningful progress.

Our BCcampus Research Fellows research project is one small yet powerful contribution to a much larger call for dialogue that advances hospitality for all within a colonized education system. Indigenous Autistic students are among the least represented in post-secondary and institutional and individual oppression limits the flourishing of this student body. In this research we center Indigenous Autistic storied experiences to help inform policy and practices. This research highlights that addressing unique intersectionality offers an opportunity for educational reformation that will be of benefit to all relations.

We invite you to listen to the oral recording of our final report, Thrivival: The Fire Within. This report is offered in segments to allow the time and space necessary to fully receive the gift of these knowledges with an open heart and mind. Thank you for listening and for your commitment to locate yourself within our collective storied experience. We share the responsibility of protecting, nurturing, and sharing Truths, our stories. Thank you for your lifelong commitment towards healing, learning, and transforming.

All our relations.

Thrivival: The Fire Within Final Report [PDF]

Oral recordings of Thrivival: The Fire Within

Research Themes: Conditions For Thrivival